User Guide


This is the user guide of O-RAN SC SDL C++ library. Shared Data Layer (SDL) provides a lightweight, high-speed interface (API) for accessing shared data storage. SDL can be used for storing and sharing any data. Data can be shared at VNF level. One typical use case for SDL is sharing the state data of stateful application processes. Thus enabling stateful application processes to become stateless, conforming with, e.g., the requirements of the fifth generation mobile networks.

Figure below illustrates some main points of SDL:

SDL introduction

SDL has been implemented in many languages:

  • C++ Linux shared library

  • Golang package

  • Python package

This document focuses on C++ implementation of SDL but general principles are the same in all implementations.

Key Concepts

Backend Data Storage

Backend data storage refers to data storage technology behind SDL API which handles the actual data storing. SDL API hides the backend data storage implementation from SDL API clients, and therefore backend data storage technology can be changed without affecting SDL API clients. Currently, Redis database is the most commonly used backend data storage implementation.

Figure below illustrates how SDL API hides backend data storage technology from application:

SDL API hides backend data storage technology from application

SDL Deployment section provides further information about backend data storage deployment options.


Namespaces provide data isolation within SDL data storage. That is, data in certain namespace is isolated from the data in other namespaces. Each SDL client uses one or more namespaces.

Namespaces can be used, for example, to isolate data belonging to different use cases.

Figure below shows an example of the SDL namespace concept. There are two SDL clients, both accessing SDL backend data storage using an SDL API instance (C++ object). Client 1 uses both namespaces: A and B, while client 2 uses only namespace: B. Therefore, data in the namespace: A is visible only to client 1 and data in namespace: B is shared between clients 1 and 2:

SDL namespace concept example

Namespace management is planned to be moved under a managing entity which enforces some control over how the namespaces are created. For now, however, namespace naming needs to be manually coordinated between clients.

Keys and Data

Clients save key-data pairs. Data is passed as byte vectors. SDL stores the data as it is. Any structure that this data may have (e.g. a serialized JSON) is meaningful only to the client itself. Clients are responsible for managing the keys. As namespaces provide data isolation, keys in different namespaces always access different data.


SDL provides currently following APIs:

  • Asynchronous API for accessing SDL storage shareddatalayer::AsyncStorage

  • Synchronous API for accessing SDL storage shareddatalayer::SyncStorage

Same SDL client can use one or more SDL APIs. There should rarely be need to create several instances of the same SDL API though. All individual operations done using SDL API functions are targeted to one namespace (accessing several namespaces requires multiple operations).

SDL API functions are not thread-safe, meaning that same SDL instance must not be shared between multiple threads without explicit locking in SDL client.

SDL API functions are atomic unless otherwise indicated. Indication of the non-atomic behavior of certain function can be found from one or many of the following:

  • Function name

  • Function parameters

  • Function doxygen documentation (see below)

Refer to doxygen generated SDL API documentation below for further information about SDL APIs and the functions they contain.

Doxygen Generated SDL API Documentation

Pre-built online version of SDL API Doxygen documentation is not yet available.

Doxygen documentation can be generated manually. Follow instructions found from SDL developer guide.

Building Clients Using SDL

SDL API functions can be used by including SDL public headers and by linking SDL shared library.

The necessary compilation and linker flags can be acquired with the pkg-config tool:

pkg-config --cflags libsdl
pkg-config --libs libsdl

SDL internal implementation uses C++14, thus SDL clients need to be build using a C++ compiler supporting C++14. However, SDL public API header files contain only features which are available in C++11, thus SDL clients do not need to be implemented (and compiled) using C++14 (C++11 is enough). The compiler just needs to have support for C++14.

Using SDL in Application Pod

SDL binary artifacts including Debian (.deb) and RPM Package Manager (.rpm) packages are available in O-RAN-SC repository.

In runtime environment SDL needs also a database backend service, currently SDL supports only Redis database. Recommended solution is to use DBaaS component of the official RIC platform deployment.

Deploying SDL database backend with DBaaS service in the RIC

Download RIC deployment artifacts:

git clone ""

The ric-platform directory contains Helm chart and scripts to deploy RIC platform components, including also DBaaS component.

RIC DBaaS service must be running before starting application pod which is using SDL API. DBaaS defines environment variables which are used to contact DBaaS service (offering backend for SDL). Those environment variables are exposed inside application container only if DBaaS service is running when application container is started. Refer to Database Backend Configuration section, for information about available environment variables. You may test SDL connectivity to its backend with the sdltool command inside your application container:

sdltool test-connectivity

sdltool comes in SDL binary artifacts which are available in O-RAN-SC repository.

For more information, see also README file of the dbaas O-RAN-SC gerrit repository.


Certain aspects in SDL functionality can be configured by using environment variables.

Database Backend Configuration

Database backend configuration can be used to configure, to which database backend SDL instance connects. A list of available environment variables to configure database backend:







After DBaaS service is installed, environment variables are exposed to application containers. SDL library will automatically use these environment variables. If DBaaS service is not used, above environment variables needs to be set manually so that SDL backend can connect to correct database.

When multiple Database (DB) service is used Nokia SEP deployments can have comma separated list of DB ports, sentinel master group names and DB service addresses:

DBAAS_CLUSTER_ADDR_LIST=<comma separated list of DB services> DBAAS_MASTER_NAME=<comma separated list of DB sentinel master names> DBAAS_SERVICE_PORT=<comma separated list of DB service ports> DBAAS_SERVICE_SENTINEL_PORT=<comma separated list of Redis Sentinel ports>

In RIC platform deployments above list type of environment variables will have a single value, because only one Database (DB) service is supported in RIC.


An example how environment variables can be set in bash shell, when standalone Redis server is running in a Kubernetes Pod with k8s service name of dbaas and port 6379:


Besides hostname, IPv4 and IPv6 addresses can be set to DBAAS_SERVICE_HOST.

An example how environment variables can be set in bash shell, when Redis HA deployment is used:

export DBAAS_MASTER_NAME=my-primary-sentinel

An example how environment variables can be set in bash shell, when Redis HA deployment with two DB service is used:

export DBAAS_CLUSTER_ADDR_LIST=dbaas-0,dbaas-1
export DBAAS_MASTER_NAME=my-dbaasmaster-0,my-dbaasmaster-1
export DBAAS_SERVICE_HOST=dbaas-0
export DBAAS_SERVICE_PORT=6379,6380


Doxygen generated SDL API documentation describes which error codes are returned and which exceptions are thrown from each SDL API function. Generally, asynchronous SDL APIs return error codes and synchronous SDL APIs throw exceptions in error situations.

Handling Error Codes Returned From Asynchronous SDL APIs

Asynchronous SDL APIs return std::error_code based error codes in error situations. Typically, error code is returned as a parameter in the related callback function.

Returned error code contains detailed information about the error which has occurred. This information is valuable for SDL developers in case the issue needs further investigation, but usually this information is too detailed for SDL client error handling logic. For SDL client error handling purposes SDL provides shareddatalayer::error constants and the returned std::error_code can be compared against these constants.

Therefore SDL clients are recommended to store the returned std::error_code somewhere (for example to the log) and implement the error handling logic based on shareddatalayer::error constants. C++ code example below illustrates this:

if (error)
    log.error() << "SDL operation failed, error: " << error
                << " message: " << error.message() << std::endl;

    if (error == shareddatalayer::Error::NOT_CONNECTED)
        // Error handling logic for shareddatalayer::Error::NOT_CONNECTED
    else if (error == shareddatalayer::Error::OPERATION_INTERRUPTED)
        // Error handling logic for shareddatalayer::Error::OPERATION_INTERRUPTED
    else if (error == shareddatalayer::Error::BACKEND_FAILURE)
        // Error handling logic for shareddatalayer::Error::BACKEND_FAILURE
    else if (error == shareddatalayer::Error::REJECTED_BY_BACKEND)
        // Error handling logic for shareddatalayer::Error::REJECTED_BY_BACKEND

error in the code block above is std::error_code type variable which is returned from some asynchronous SDL API function. log is a logging service what an SDL client is using. Note that this is a simple and incomplete example for demonstration purposes and not meant to be used as such in real environment. Complete error handling implementation depends on SDL client and SDL API function which returned the error. For example, in some cases common handling for several shareddatalayer::error constants might be sufficient.

Instructions for Error Handling Logic Implementation

Doxygen documentation contains detailed description for all shareddatalayer::Error constants. This information helps to design error handling logic for each shareddatalayer::Error constant. For example, following information can be found from there:

  • What has happened

  • Is data modified in the backend data storage

  • How to recover from error situation

Handling Exceptions Thrown by Synchronous SDL APIs

Synchronous SDL APIs throw exceptions in error situations. There are corresponding exceptions for all shareddatalayer::error constants returned by asynchronous APIs (see previous section). All exceptions thrown by SDL are derived from shareddatalayer::Exception. Therefore, a client can catch shareddatalayer::Exception in case the client wants to implement common handling for some SDL originated exceptions. Note that external services, which SDL uses, can throw exceptions which are not derived from shareddatalayer::Exception.

Below is a C++ code example of a scenario where SDL client does common error handling for all exceptions thrown from synchronous SDL API:

    //Code which executes synchronous SDL API function
catch (const shareddatalayer::Exception& e)
    log.error() << "SDL operation failed, error: " << e.what() << std::endl;
    //Common error handling logic for all SDL errors
//Catch also non-SDL exceptions (like std::exception) if needed

Below C++ code example has separate handling for shareddatalayer::BackendError exception and common handling for all other exceptions thrown by SDL:

    //Code which executes synchronous SDL API function
catch (const shareddatalayer::BackendError& e)
    log.error() << "SDL operation failed, error: " << e.what() << std::endl;
    //Error handling logic for BackendError
catch (const shareddatalayer::Exception& e)
    log.error() << "SDL operation failed, error: " << e.what() << std::endl;
    //Common error handling logic for all other SDL errors than BackendError
//Catch also non-SDL exceptions (like std::exception) if needed

log is a logging service what an SDL client is using. Note that these are simple and incomplete examples for demonstration purposes and they are not meant to be used as such in real environment.

Instructions for Error Handling Logic Implementation

Doxygen documentation contains documentation for all exceptions thrown by SDL. This documentation contains information which helps to design error handling logic for each exception. For exceptions having corresponding error code, exception documentation is usually a reference to corresponding error code documentation.

Each SDL API function, which throws exceptions, has a link to the documentation of those exceptions. This link can be found from the Doxygen documentation of given SDL API function.

SDL Properties

This chapter discusses how certain general data storage related aspects work in SDL. Discussed subjects include, for example, concurrency control and data persistency.

SDL Deployment

Production environments are typically deployed so that SDL backend data storage and SDL clients are in different nodes (e.g. VM, container).

There are two different supported deployment modes for SDL backend data storage:

  • Standalone (single DB node without redundancy)

  • Redundant (DB node pair working in primary/replica redundancy model)

SDL supports also Redis sentinel based DB cluster where deployment has one or more DBAAS Redis sentinel group. Different DBAAS Redis sentinel groups can be used to distribute SDL DB operations to different SDL DB instances. When more than one DBAAS Redis sentinel group exits the selection of SDL DB instance is based on the namespace string hash calculation.

SDL does not prevent backend data storage to be deployed in the same node with the SDL client. Such deployments are, however, typically used only in development/testing type of environments.

Concurrency Control

SDL does not support transactions doing one or more units of work in ACID manner (pessimistic concurrency control).

SDL supports optimistic concurrency control by providing Check and Set (CAS) type conditional functions. These conditional functions provide possibility to do certain data modification operations only if data value matches the SDL client’s last known value. Thus a SDL client can check that someone else has not changed the data after it was read by the SDL client. If the data would have been changed, SDL does not do the modification operation and this is indicated to the SDL client. The SDL client can then decide how to handle the situation (for example read the latest data and retry modification).

AsyncStorage::setIfAsync is an example of a conditional function discussed above. Other conditional functions exist as well.

Data Persistency

Currently all data stored to SDL is stored to in-memory backend data storage. Meaning that, data is not preserved over DB node restart. DB node restart does not necessarily cause data loss for SDL client though. Refer to SDL Deployment section, for information about SDL backend data storage redundancy models.

Best Practices

This chapter gives recommendations on how to use SDL.

Building Clients Using SDL

  • Use pkg-config tool to acquire needed compilation and linking flags, instead of hardcoding them. This ensures that flags are always up-to-date. See more information from here.

  • If you want to mock SDL APIs in unit testing, SDL provides helper classes for that. By using these helper classes you need to implement mock implementation only for those SDL API functions which you use in the unit tests. See more information from doxygen documentation of the helper classes:

    • include/sdl/tst/mockableasyncstorage.hpp: MockableAsyncStorage

    • include/sdl/tst/mockablesyncstorage.hpp: MockableSyncStorage

Using SDL APIs

  • SDL APIs are not thread-safe. If same SDL API instance is shared between multiple threads, SDL client has to use explicit locking to ensure that only one thread at time executes SDL API functions.

  • Each SDL instance establishes own connection to backend data storage, which requires resources (how heavy this exactly is depends on used backend data storage type). Thus, from performance point of view, only one SDL instance per one SDL API should be used if reasonably possible. One SDL instance can access multiple SDL namespaces when using AsyncStorage and SyncStorage APIs.

  • Use waitReadyAsync() function before doing first operation via asynchronous APIs to ensure that SDL and backend data storage are ready to handle operations. See waitReadyAsync() function doxygen documentation for corresponding asynchronous API for details.

  • Use waitReady() function before doing first operation via synchronous APIs to ensure that SDL and backend data storage are ready to handle operations. See waitReady() function doxygen documentation for corresponding synchronous API for details.

  • Avoid using heavy search functions (for example: AsyncStorage::findKeys()). Rather define your keys so that you know which keys should be read.

Using SDL Namespaces

  • As namespace naming is currently on SDL client’s responsibility, use enough specific namespace names that same name is surely not used by someone else (unless you want to share given namespace data with that someone else).

  • Data entities related to each other should be placed under the same namespace (unless there is a good reason not to). For example, accessing multiple data entities with one SDL operation is possible only for data entities belonging to same namespace.

  • Identically named keys can be used in different namespaces. Creating own namespaces for different use cases and unrelated data provides more freedom into key name selection.

Data Management

  • Writing or reading one big junk of data at once is more efficient than writing/reading the same amount of data in small steps. For example, create a key list and read it once, rather than reading each key in a loop.

  • If rolling upgrade needs to be supported, consider using Google Protocol Buffers (or something similar) to make it possible to parse data which is written by older or newer application version.


There is a pre-installed sdlcli tool in DBaaS container. With this tool user can see statistics of database backend (Redis), check healthiness of DBaaS database backend, list database keys and get and set values into database. For example to see statistics give below command inside DBaaS container:

sdlcli statistics

To check healthiness of database:

sdlcli healthcheck

Use sdlcli help to get more information about available commands:

sdlcli --help